asked 5 months, 1 week ago

How to stay fit in Saudi Arabia?

By: shabaz


I have been living in Saudi Arabia for 1 year now and my weight has increased 10 kg in just one year. Some of my friends are also having the problem. I don't why people living in KSA gain weight so fast. Can anyone suggest to how stay fit and healthy in Saudi Arabia?, Especially people who live without family and don't have option to cook and eat. Eating outside regularly and staying fit is difficult in Saudi Arabia. I will be glad if anyone can share their experience and suggestions.

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222 views 2 answers

answered 5 months, 1 week ago

By: junaid


I believe there are two main reasons for the rapid weight gain of expats living in Saudi Arabia.

1. Food

  • Food is relatively cheap in Saudi Arabia. The quantity of food restaurants sell for an individual, in general, will be enough for two. People who are eating outside regularly, especially bachelors, will get into the habit of eating more than required.
  • It is hard to find vegetarian and healthy food in Kingdom, on the contrary it is very easy to find junk and unhealthy food.
  • Soft drinks, when consumed regularly, wrecks havocs on human body. Unfortunately cold drinks are cheap and consumed at a level of addiction or at-least as a replacement of water. It is surprising to know in some fast food centers soft drinks are cheaper than water and in some cases water is not available and fast food restaurants offer soft drinks as there replacement.  More about the ill affects of soda here and here.

2. Inactivity

  • The life style changes drastically once you are in Saudi Arabia. It is said that healthy living requires 10,000 steps or at-least 6,000 steps. Unfortunately most of the people in Kingdom - at least people with car(most of the Kingdom population owns car) - walks way less than 6,000 steps. Activity trackers are cheap, you can measure your activity and if you are not making a special effort to do more physical activity, then most probably you are walking less than 6,000 steps.
  • Life style effects on female population is even worse, there activity is even more restricted than men.

Studies show than 70% Saudi population is obese, which is unbelievable. A quick observation of blue-color job workers in Kingdom and less prevalent obesity in them - at-least, blue-color job workers are not as much affected with obesity as the rest of the population in Kingdom- makes the role the aforementioned factors play in causing obesity even stronger.

Hope this will help you lose weight and to stay healthy.

answered 5 months ago

By: jaber


The most important factor in weight gain is diet. It is very difficult to out exercise the mouth. Controlling what you eat is the best thing to start with to get the weight under control.

Food classification
1. Carbohydrates(carbs): Rice, Flour (ata), sugar (cool drink, fruit juice), most of the things available outside as snacks are carbohydrates. they are essential because they are the fuel that run human body. 
     What they do: they are fuel of human body. carbs get converted into glucose and give us energy to do what we do.

2. Protein: meet(chicken, fish, beef, mutton, etc..), eggs whites, beans etc..
     what they do: build muscle, esstential for human body. they build and repair muscles.

3. fat: liquid fat(oils also known as unsaturated fat ) and solid fat (animal fat also known as saturated fat)
     what they do: store energy, form of storage of carbohydrates. They store more energy than, carbs, protiens or fibers.

4. Fiber: complex carbohydrates.
     what they do: long strings of carbs they don't absorbed by the body, but help in digesting the good and moving the waste out of the body. 

This is the basic food classfication to understand what we eat made up of.

Things that you should know to follow the deit.
There are two types of carbs. white carbs or processed carbs is the inside of the seed, like inside of wheat , by inside I mean excluding the cover of the seed(which is esstential component, it contains fiber). most of the flour(maida or ata or rice) that we eat and snacks that available on stores is white processed carb.  industry process the seeds (wheat and rice) because that makes the food tasty and increases it storage time which is good for their business but by no means it good for our health.

Here is why white carbs are bad:
1. they are unnatural because they made by removing other esstential part of the seed(wheat or rice: they remove the cover of wheat and rice).
2. when they go inside human body, it gets converted into glucose immediately, glucose is the fuel, we all need it but the way in which white carbs get conveted into glucose is harmful. here is the little detailed explanation: eating white carbs is almost like injecting glucose into your body. In our times it is not the scarcity of food that is killing us, but rather the excess of it. the dominant part of our food these (esp in india and in middle class) is white carbs, out of other macro nuetrients (protiens, fat and fiber) we eat disproportiontely high amounts carbs esp white carbs, if you don't agree with just observe what you eat every day, you will an anwser. This huge part of white carbs go into our body and takes the shape of glucose almost immediately, unfortunately bodies needs glucose but not that much, that like overdose of glucose, esp because we do not go physical activity(remember human body is not designed for a sedentary life style, our bodies were changed and adapted to live in a mobile life style not sedantray. for thousands of years our ancestors lived by hunting and traviling, its only before couple of centuries ago that we adopted sedantry life style, especially after industrial revlution,, let me not digress from the topic). this excess glucose is like poison to our body, it is essential but only to certain extent. to get rid of the excess liver produces insluin which converts excess of glocuse into fat. there we go, you just found out one of big reasons of people getting fat these days. eating wrong and excess of food. 
3. it not only makes u fat but also it causes  a very prevalant problem, which is gradually killing many people, and  hyderabad is worst effect by this disease, diabetes, unfortunately even our father has it. stress and wrong food habits are major contributor of this problem. everybody complains about the problem, but no one is willing to chain their eating and physical habits. you know what I am saying. It is killing us and making us weak. People are just stuffing their bellies wiith white rice and not doing enough physical activies to expend the energy that it gives. The result, disfigured, week and diseased people.

Now here are the 5 rules of this diet, just 5.

1. Avoid "white carbs"
2. eat the same few meal again and again.
3. don't drink calories: avoid cool drinks, even fruit drinks or any form of sugary drinks. Their effect is even worse than white carbs, because they are already sugars (glucose=sugar).
4. don't eat fruits(fruits are has fructose, which is nothing but a type of glucose). However you can eat them once in a while, with no disadvantage . 
5. cheat day: take off a day in a week and go nuts, eat whatever you want, no rules apply on this day.

rule no. 5 is esstential because no one can diet for every, one day in a week will reset you for the coming week, it is easier to take one day break and start again the next wee.

Those were the rules, what you can do in the your context(where you live) and types of foods that are accessible or availble to you.

Here are my sugestions for your everydays meals:

breakfast: eggs(just egg whites if you want to follow it strictly to see immedate results.), beans (soya bean, green bean or dals, ) with whole wheat chapati ( whole wheat means: they don't remove the cover of wheat seeds, which lot better than flour (maida)). 
quantity to eat: eat as much as you want, there are no restriction on amount, only on the type of food you are eating. however don't eat more chapaties( even it is whole wheat there are carbs in it).

Lunch: pretty much the same, you can replace eggs with meet or any vegitable curry.

Around 5: when you are eating less carb and more protiens, you will kind of get hungry around 5, eat snacks, but what snacks , carrot and kheera or cucumbor. they contain fiber which is good, will make full and you will feel hungary till dinner.
note: there are no restriction on vegitables. veggies are source of carbs (but they are good carbs unlike white carbs i explained earlier, eat them without restriction)

Dinner: Eat whatever you want but avoid white carbs (white rice, and do eat more chappaties even whole wheat ones). No limits on quantity.

Please note: the only extra things that you need at home, in our context is carrots and cucumber and please don't make your diet a burden on parents, what ever other things are required, try to manage it yourself, it mustly abstaining from eating wrong food. In any case don't strave, starving is not dieting and it is bad for health. as i said before, whatever you eat, eat it full.

make Sunday as cheat day: to skip this deit and eat whatever you been craving for the whole week. 


 In this diet, you will consume less white carbs and more proteins, and when you excersice it is protein that builds the muscle.

how many times a week, should you go to gym?
3 times is enough and 4 times is good:
plan for 1 hour to 1 and half our session and when you are in gym, you will have slog(sweat and workout), not just see hangaround and do moderatly intensive excercise like most people do (esp in our gyms).

Begin with the diet first and tell me how easy or difficult it was for few weeks, you concerns and questions. then if you want i will suggest you the excercise routine as well.

one more important thing is measurements.
to see how you are progressing in the diet, you should do measurement of certain areas. i will attach an excel sheet, do the weekly measurements in that excel sheet to check your progress. just a simple tape is enough to do the measurements.

what to measure.
1. both arms at center
2. both legs at the center
3. stomach at navel 
4. stomach at lower waist (where you wear your pants)
5. widest part of the hips

use the template below